Figures released this week show parents aren’t getting the mental health care they need after the death of their child.

The Out of Sight, Out of Mind report was published by the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance, a group of charities working to inform people on the issue.

The Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (Sands) said that 60 per cent of bereaved parents could not access the support services they needed through the NHS.

Only 16 per cent of people who took part in their Survey of Maternity and Neonatal Care were able to access the support they needed on the NHS.

One respondent to the “Finding Your Way” survey earlier in the year said: “I walked out of hospital and no one ever contacted me.

“Only a letter from the GP with congratulations and dates to bring my deceased baby for jabs and check-ups.

“I called for some counselling but was told I’d have to wait 6 months. I got no support.”

In July 2019, the alliance sent FOI requests to health commissioners across the country to understand whether the support was available.

The responses showed a patchy picture of support, with commissioners in 86% of areas saying they do not commission specialist therapies to support grieving parents.

The report concludes that a lack of awareness, limited needs assessments and referral pathways, and a lack of access to services are all problems for parents after losing a baby.

The alliance has also raised concerns about the quality of services offered, after one parent said: “I self-referred after our first loss and was diagnosed with PTSD.

“The counsellor said group bereavement counselling wasn’t suitable as I’d not lost a loved one. After our second loss I chose not to look for help.”

The report shows that those who are able to access services often have a bad experience.

This can put people off seeking support in the future and delay their recovery.

The alliance said that 90% of the public surveyed supported NHS funding for free support after the death of a child.

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